Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Orloff Collection |
The Awful Dr. Orloff / Dr. Orloff's Monster / Revenge in the House of Usher / Orloff and the Invisible Man
Actors: Howard Vernon, Brigitte Carva, Fernando Sancho, Paco Valladares, Isabel del Río
Directors: Jesus Franco, Pierre Chevalier
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Devious. Diabolical. Devilish. He's Dr. Orloff, the villainous creation of horror cult director Jess Franco introduced in the gothic classic, The Awful Dr. Orlof. Determined to restore the beauty of his disfigured sister, ... more »
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Mediocrity, thy name is Franco
mrliteral | 09/18/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"With the exception of English works, European horror tends to have more of a cult following in the U.S. than a popular one. Certainly, European horror has a lot to offer, including some of the early German films such as Nosferatu. Later, such names as Dario Argento and Mario Bava would present horror films that were distinctly different from American works. But, just as there are plenty of lesser American horror films, there are plenty of lesser European ones, and the prolific director Jess Franco has created his share of those.
The Orloff Collection presents a set of four movies, three of which were directed by Franco. The name itself is a misnomer: the villainous Dr. Orloff only appears in two of the four; in one other, he is referred to, and the fourth just uses clips from an Orloff movie. They are of varying quality, but generally get worse as they go along.
The first in the set is The Awful Dr. Orlof (only one "f" in his debut), a film that was originally double-billed with the similarly named (but more well-respected) The Horrible Dr. Hichcock. Orlof (played by Howard Vernon) is your standard mad scientist out to kidnap women to use their parts to restore his ill sister. He has a freakish henchman, a murderous blind man who acts as Orlof's slave. This is probably the best in the set, and even this one is only three star material.
Orloff (or Orlof) is nowhere to be seen in Dr. Orloff's Monster, in which the mad scientist is this time named Dr. Fisherman. Fisherman has re-animated his dead brother to serve as a unkillable monster who will murder Fisherman's enemies. Occasionally, there will be some women killed too. The appearance of Fisherman's niece will throw some wrenches into the monkey works.
In Orloff and the Invisible Man, Orloff has returned, this time with an invisible killer as his slave and some vague plans of creating a super race of invisible monsters. A doctor - summoned by Orloff's daughter - learns of the plot and tries to derail it. Like the other movies, this one has minimal special effects, bland acting (even taking the dubbing into account), and cheesy make-up jobs. This is usually made up for with gratuitous nudity, and this one has it in spades. (This one, by the way, was actually directed by Pierre Chevalier.)
Finally, Revenge in the House of Usher illustrates that the worst thing a film (in any genre) can be is not poorly written, acted or directed, but simply boring. This retelling of Poe's classic story is far better in the Roger Corman version starring Vincent Price. Here, it is muddled and a thudding bore. And there is no Orloff: instead, Vernon plays Usher, though clips are used from The Awful Dr. Orloff for flashback material.
I'm sure Franco has his devotees, but from this set, it's hard to understand why (I've also seen a couple of his Fu Manchu movies and his version of Dracula, and none of them are very good either). These films don't even fit into the category so-bad-they're good, and with a minimum of extras, I have to give the set as a whole two stars. Even for horror fans, this one doesn't offer much more that the routine and the tedious.